Des Moines crash victim identified as Sam Backman of West Seattle

It’s been a tough few months at Hegge Chevron in Sunrise Heights; first, the sudden death of owner Mark Hegge this past March. Today, the staff is dealing with news that one of their co-workers was killed in a car crash. It was a one-car crash in Des Moines, discovered late last night (here’s a KIRO TV report); today, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as 20-year-old Sam Backman, and the folks at the Chevron station tell us Sam worked there. They say he was a Seattle Lutheran High School graduate and played ‘multiple sports’ there (here’s a 2007 story noting his football accomplishments; a school newsletter has him on the SLHS Honor Roll the same year). Lately, he had been in the automotive program at South Seattle Community College. According to the tv report, his Honda Accord crashed through a rail and plunged down a ravine near South 216th/Marine View Drive. SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Seattle Lutheran has announced that Sam Backman’s memorial is set for Saturday June 12th at 3 pm, at Grace Church, 10323 28th Avenue SW, just south of Roxbury. ADDED SATURDAY NIGHT: Also from SLHS: There will be a viewing Thursday 4-8 at Howden-Kennedy in The Junction. The family asks that in place of flowers, donations be made to the Seattle Lutheran Sports Department. (Photo added Sunday, provided by Sam Backman’s family)

39 Replies to "Des Moines crash victim identified as Sam Backman of West Seattle"

  • Tim Winston June 4, 2010 (4:59 pm)

    Our heartfelt condolences to the Backman family…we are so sorry.

  • Shirley Enebrad (Geller) June 4, 2010 (5:13 pm)

    So sorry to hear of Sam’s accident. Our family’s thoughts and prayers are with Sam’s family and friends.

  • Jeff Breiling June 4, 2010 (5:21 pm)

    Our prayers for the Backman family, may God strengthen and sustain you.

  • alki resident June 4, 2010 (5:21 pm)

    Could you put up a pic of him,he sounds very familiar.

    • WSB June 4, 2010 (5:56 pm)

      AR – if we had a photo, we would. I have looked online. If anyone reading this, family or friends, decides to share a photo (, we would certainly add it … TR

  • MB June 4, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    I only knew Sam for a short time, just the last few months as my husband has taken over managing the station since Mark’s sudden passing, but any interaction I ever had with him was nothing but good. He was always so nice to me and had a great smile. I was just heartbroken when my husband called me with the news this morning. This is a good kid who was working towards a good career. Such a tragic loss. Sending strength to his family and friends. Sam will be missed very much.

  • KB June 4, 2010 (5:39 pm)

    My son was friends with Sam all through high school. Echoing MB’s comments, he was indeed a fine young man who had such a wonderful smile and kind heart. We were always happy to see him at our door. Our hearts go out to the Backman family as they work through this devasting loss. Please know that Sam was so loved and we are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers.

  • onceachef June 4, 2010 (5:45 pm)

    Don’t know him but condolences to the family and friends.

  • ad June 4, 2010 (6:05 pm)

    Tragic. :( Rest in peace.

  • Randy Hackett June 4, 2010 (6:12 pm)

    Sam was a great kid. This is a huge loss for Hegge Chevron, not only us but for the entire community. Sam was outgoing, shy and hardworking. He will be greatly missed and our hearts go out to his family. I already miss you. Randy-Hegge Chevron.

  • alki resident June 4, 2010 (6:17 pm)

    Alot of kids will be reading this now that school is out its bound to happen again.SLOW DOWN,its better to be late than never arrive at all.

  • The Barkers June 4, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    So sorry to hear of Sam’s passing – he was a very sweet young man. Rest in peace in God’s loving arms. Our prayers go out to the Backman family. We felt blessed to have had Sam in our life and will miss him.
    The Barkers – Seana, Rod & Tawnia

  • kat June 4, 2010 (7:32 pm)

    prayers and love to his family He was A nice kid and will truly be missed

    He played football with my son and was a great guy i am deeply saddned

  • RMP June 4, 2010 (7:50 pm)

    It’s always hard to hear of a young person’s death … so tragic. Sam was a sweet, gentle person. The first time I met him at Chevron he was so kind! I’m a Grandma (just found out to one of his friends) it didn’t matter that I was an “old lady” he chatted to me like an old friend, I looked forward to seeing him each time I went to the station! God bless his family and remember Sam is now is God’s loving hands.

  • Kelly & Dave Poe June 4, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    Sam will live in our hearts. We have many memories of him growing up. Such fun! Such life! Joy floated around him! I’m sure it was the angels dancing and singing and laughing right along with him, coaxing him into so many antics. We’ll never forget and never stop loving him.

  • Dan June 4, 2010 (8:47 pm)

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the Backman family. Sam was a very special young man and he will forever be missed. He always had a smile to give. The world is a darker place without him.

  • zerodacus June 4, 2010 (10:22 pm)

    Alki Resident, take the time to read these posts, these people are in pain, You have no idea if speed was involved, leave your personal speculation out please.

  • alki resident June 4, 2010 (10:39 pm)

    Ive read them and have sympathy.I also have four kids and I know from the original story it mentions speed.I also know picking up my teens from school everyday at ws high,Im nearly hit in my vehicle regularly by irratic inexperienced drivers peeling out of the parking lot.Because I CARE Im forewarning other young drivers and Ill do it again anytime if itll save a life my words were worth it.

  • MissBeth June 4, 2010 (11:17 pm)

    I didn’t know this young man, but my heart goes out to his family. He may or may not be related to someone my sister once lived with…wont know for sure til I know his parents names.

    His family will be in my thoughts in the months to come.

  • SarahScoot June 5, 2010 (8:05 am)

    I didn’t know Sam, but he was the brother-in-law of a friend of mine from elementary through high schools; a very smart and kind woman who posted a loving note on Facebook about Sam, accompanied by a photo of him holding her young son. He looked like a nice kid. Very sad indeed.

  • Diane June 5, 2010 (12:18 pm)

    We have known Sam since he was a baby, growing up with our kids at Grace Church. Sam was a good young man. Our hearts and prayers are with his dear parents and family. I know Sam is in the Lord’s presence.

  • Ignatz June 5, 2010 (5:18 pm)

    alki the scolding for another time and venue. Sam was a wonderful young man and neighbor. Please show some respect.

  • Audrey & Jon Tharp June 5, 2010 (10:24 pm)

    We are so saddened to hear of the death of Sam.
    We hold you safe in our hearts at this time.
    May you have strengh and peace in the days ahead.
    Audrey & Jon Tharp

  • Sofia June 6, 2010 (12:18 am)

    I didn’t know Sam personally, but I remember the first day of school, I was sitting alone at a lunch table, eating and feeling awkward. He came over and said hello, how are ya. That was the one and only time I ever talked to him, but it made a big difference for a shy, dorky, 13 year old freshman.

    God Bless!

  • West Seattle Nursery June 6, 2010 (12:59 pm)

    Sam also worked part time as a waterer here at West Seattle Nursery. We hired him in February to help us re-build our shade structure roof. We decided to keep him on for the season.
    Sam’s good friend Matt also works here and Matt is the one here who knows him best – sadly the rest of us didn’t get the chance… But he was a good, sweet kid-quiet, kind and polite. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We are just so very sorry. If there’s anything we can do for you – do not hesitate to ask.

    Sam, we hardly knew you but we will miss you.

    West Seattle Nursery

  • Ellen Baglien June 6, 2010 (3:04 pm)

    We remember Sam from the days our son Brett spent several years in the care of the Backman family. Sam was one of Brett’s first friends, and oh how he loved his time at Carrie’s house. It has been a long time since those preschool years, but we are so sad to hear of Sam’s passing. We will keep all of the Backman family in our prayers.

  • Scott Meaker June 6, 2010 (6:41 pm)

    As a local baseball and football coach and as a Scout Master I have come to know hundreds of young people from the city, especially West Seattle. Through sports I developed a close relationship to Sam Backman’s family in the 90’s when Sam was just a little guy. Even back then, I often thought of him as one of my all-time favorite kids because of his easy smile, sweet laugh, and gentle ways. His folks and siblings are wonderful people and my family feels a horrible sense of loss and heart break for them…. for us… for everyone that new Sam. I saw Sam again while he competed in high school sports and he had not changed a bit… except that he was huge! The little boy had grown into a lean and atheletic flag-pole of a kid. But his genuinely terrific traits were always there. It is evident in the comments by the people that dealt with him at his work. So, yes young people do sometimes lose track of their speed while driving, and yes young people do make some mistakes that sometimes are prohitively costly. That’s reality and a phase of life everyone… everyone has been a party to. Get used to it! In Sam’s case, regardless of what really happened that night, the cost was unbearable for those of us left behind. Especially his family because they are a very, very close and loving family. So I grieve with all of West Seattle for the loss of such a great young man. And we all wish this could somehow be reversed. But know this. Sam’s time of suffering was short and his passing was quick. He, a dedicated young man of God, is with his Lord rejoicing. It is us that are left behind to try and deal with his passing in our grief and our sadness. In time, I pray that we all can take peace in knowing that He has Sam with Him. I am so grateful that his parents raised him so well and with such a strong faith. It is something that we all can have right now to be thankful for. That, and the chance to have known such a great young man.

  • G Thode June 6, 2010 (9:11 pm)

    My heartfelt condolences to Sam’s family and friends for such a terrible loss. Sam was an accomplished athlete and a wonderful young man. He will be missed by so many he has touched. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to enjoy him over the past 7 years.

  • PT June 7, 2010 (8:01 am)

    This is such a tragic loss for everyone. I remember many stories of him thru my daughter who graduated from Seattle Lutheran with Sam. I know he touched my daughter’s life & she feels the loss. My prayers go out to all those whose life he touched.

  • Kayte Teeple June 7, 2010 (11:24 am)

    Sam worked at Foss Maritime Company when he wasn’t in school. He was a great kid, always with a smile. My heart goes out to his Mom and Dad and Sister and Brother and to anyone who knew him. He will be missed.

  • Jar Lyons June 8, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    We had many nicknames in our family for Sam.

    SamIam … from Dr. Seuss, Sammy Batman … that was our son Grant’s favorite.

    Our kids were blessed to have gotten to know the Backmans when Carrie ran her daycare. Grant spent quite a bit of time playing in their backyard with Matthew and Sam running shotgun while our daughter Vivian played with Sam’s sister Amanda.

    Later, Grant inherited Sam’s bike, which he still rides from time to time.

    We have vacationed with the Backmans and joined them in a barn raising for a close friend in Idaho.

    The Backmans are truly some the nicest people we have ever met, and we share in their sorrow in Sam’s passing.

    May he rest in peace.

    Jar and Roxanne Lyons

  • patricia davis June 9, 2010 (10:17 am)

    I have known Sam for much of his life. He was truly a joyful, fun spirited, kind and loving person. He helped me with many projects and did excellent work. His family is among the best I have ever known: loving and truly good people.

    The loss is tremendous. My heart goes out to the family. My condolences, and may he rest in piece and may all that loved him see him again in the afterlife. Patricia Davis (neighbor)

  • D. Imori June 9, 2010 (10:45 am)

    To the Backman Family: Know that our thoughts & prayers are with you during this sorrowful time. Sam was a nice young man – He will be missed.

    D.Imori & Family

  • Al June 9, 2010 (10:59 am)

    I was saddened and shocked at the news of Sam’s passing. Such a great kid, with his whole life ahead of him.

    My most sincere condolences to Sam’s family.

    I’ll miss seeing him around the neighborhood.

  • Bruce June 9, 2010 (5:19 pm)

    Time on this earth is so short,
    Our thoughts and Prayers are with you in your time of need.

  • Scott Meaker June 12, 2010 (5:41 pm)

    I just returned home from attending Sam’s memorial service. There had to be over 300 people at Grace Church. The majority of the time was dedicated to his family and friends recalling memories about Sam. It is soooo clear that Sam touched a lot of people’s hearts and lives in such a wonderful way. I’ll tell you this, the video memory clips of Sam’s life that was played at the end was really great, but really sad too. A lot of moist eyes, or more. Too sad a day to describe, but too great a young man to not be happy and glad that you had met Sam. Rest in Peace, Sam. Thanks for the memories.

  • Jennifer June 12, 2010 (9:55 pm)

    I also just got home from Sam’s memorial. It was beautiful! What a remarkable young man he was! I hadn’t seen Sam for awhile, but am in awe this evening of the way he touched so many people and of the family who loves him so much. So thankful there is hope for the future!!

  • J Hayashi June 13, 2010 (8:15 pm)

    To The Backman Family,

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Sam. I’ll always remember him as a tireless worker who never complained about hard labor. He was also a loyal friend with a good heart.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Sam.

    Jin Hayashi

  • Mildred (Mimi) Schiavoni June 14, 2010 (1:02 pm)

    Dear Al and family,

    John and I have been shocked with your news and realize that what with the Memorial sharing and in hugging your brother and family gaves each of you courage to accept the tragedy ,sad as it must be. To loose any member of a family isn’t easy to accept. Keep in touch with each other and walk with God through this loss.
    Fondly, Mildred (sister-inlaw) and John Schiavoni

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